Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dear King Abdullah: Please Send 16,000 Princelings To Iraq For Peacekeeping

Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn’t really war,
We’re sending 50,000 more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese.

--Tom Paxton, 1965

The war in Iraq has always been about oil. To many of us, the falsehoods marketed as the Iraq casus belli were obvious before the illegal and immoral invasion actually began in 2003. But even some of President Bush's stalwart base are now realizing that America's blood and treasure have been, and continue to be, squandered on foreign sand in the name of Big Oil as opposed to the revered causes of Protecting Americans or Removing Despots or Spreading Freedom. And these folk are, in growing numbers, scurrying across the decks of the Good Ship Neocon and leaping overboard. Which leaves George W. Bush almost completely alone in his battle of no wits and one weirdly fluid rationale.

So why is Bush still tilting at windmills derricks in the desert? Because he was given his orders. Or, rather, Puppetmaster Cheney was. Writing about last night's Deer-In-The-Headlights Speech, Greg Palast notes:

Here’s my question: Who asked the waiter to deliver this dish? Who asked for the 21,000 soldiers?

We know the US military didn’t ask for the 21,000 troops. (Outgoing commander General George Casey called for a troop reduction.)

We know the Iraqi government didn’t ask for the 21,000 troops. (Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is reportedly unhappy about a visible increase in foreign occupiers).

So who wants the occupation to continue? The answer is in Riyadh. When the King of Saudi Arabia hauled Dick Cheney before his throne on Thanksgiving weekend, the keeper of America’s oil laid down the law to Veep: the US will not withdraw from Iraq.

According to Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi who signals to the US government the commands and diktats of the House of Saud, the Saudis are concerned that a US pull-out will leave their Sunni brothers in Iraq to be slaughtered by Shia militias. More important, the Saudis will not tolerate a Shia-majority government in Iraq controlled by the Shia mullahs of Iran. A Shia combine would threaten Saudi Arabia’s hegemony in the OPEC oil cartel.

In other words, it’s about the oil.

Will America please wake up? Will the mainstream media dare to say the very word in the context of the true raison d'ĂȘtre for this war and not just as a lead-in to a consumer story about gas stations: Oil? Because Big-O Oil, along with the staggering piles of money and twitchy time-bombs of power disproportionately and, it seems, unfairly bestowed on those who control the land above it, is why we're sending our young men and women to risk life and limb in Iraq. Many soldiers are on their second and third and even fourth tours. We're quietly repairing our troops' broken bodies--or trying to--and when they don't make it, we're quietly bringing their flag-draped coffins home. And in messages to the masses that can only be described as an ongoing barrage of Consume-Cry-Consume cognitive dissonance, we're encouraged to shop and travel, then told that America will need to sacrifice. As though the average non-military person could possibly imagine holding a folded flag and knowing that abject, bottomless grief, accepting that certainty of son, daughter, sibling or spouse being gone forever.

No, we're finally reading between the sticky, slippery lines: it's about the Oil--more specifically, the countries and companies who control its flow and reap its fortunes. And were the Cowboy-in-Chief made of sterner stuff as opposed to being little more than a costume filled with scarecrow's straw--if he only had a brain, and a conscience to go with it--last night's speech might have sounded like the one Palast suggests:

"My fellow Americans. Iraq is going to hell in a handbag. So the whole shebang doesn’t collapse into mayhem and madness, we need to send in 21,000 more troops. So I’ve just wired King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and told him to send them.

“My missive to the monarch reads: Dear Abdullah: It’s time your 16,000 princelings got out of their Rolls Royces and formed the core of an Islamic Peacekeeping Force to prevent mass murder in Iraq. The American people are tired of you using the 82d Airborne as your private mercenary army. It seems like the Saudi military’s marching song is, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’

“Well, King Ab, we’re out of here. We’re folding tents and loading the wagons. For four years now, Saudis have been secretly funding the berserkers in the Iraqi ‘insurgency’ while the Iranians are backing the crazies in the militias. Well, we’re telling you and the Persians: you’re going to have to stop using your checkbooks to fund a proxy war and instead start keeping the peace. It’s time you put your own tushies in the line of fire for a change."

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